I Lost It. Again.

Couple in silhouette (iStock)
Couple in silhouette (iStock)

This Friday night I lost it. Again. A day later I found it. Again.

One of my kids is struggling and it shows up in some anti-social and unpleasant habits. I have struggled with finding compassion toward his behaviors. My wife has struggled with finding compassion with my lack of compassion. It can be a potent cocktail. It kind of reminds me of a variation on the “lightbulb” joke:

Q: How many insecure people does it take to create conflict?

A: One’s enough, but the more the merrier.

In the 24 hours after our run-in (my becoming upset with my son, my wife becoming upset with me, my reacting to her), I went through a few now familiar stages.

  1. “These people out there are a real problem. How dare he speak and act that way? How dare she undermine me? How is anything going to improve?” Repeat.
  2. Well, anger and recriminations is not such a holy place to be, but still, they shouldn’t provoke me like that. It’s not fair.
  3. Yes, I’m upset. But they can’t be the cause. They might have made some mistakes, but that’s only because they’re having their own challenges. My internal experience, my feelings are just me and God. Still, it’s hard to avoid reacting. I’m kind of embarrassed.
  4. It’s ok that I fell. I’m not proud of my angry reaction, but I’m not too ashamed to face it and accept responsibility for my role in what is an exquisite Divine partnership.

As the Rabbis say, “The main children of a person are his good choices.” God is allowing me to give birth to something precious – a new choice, new understanding, a new self. Birth involves contractions and dilations and so does the human journey involve insecurity and equilibrium. I don’t resent, resist, nor take the contractions personally, as if my predilection to insecurity somehow defines me or my competence. Insecurity is a spiritual phenomenon from God that passes through me and every human. Be in them; touch the power of the Divine bringing forth new life through you. In the pain, trust in something good, wise, and greater than you can fathom.

Lastly,

5. I resolve to express my regret for the role I played in our conflict. I resolve to do better knowing that God has promised His help to all those who return: “One who comes to purify himself is assisted from above.”

About the Author
Rabbi Henry Harris has served as consultant and performance coach to Fortune 500 CEOs and Wall Street Managing Directors as well as teens, moms and dads. He is Director of www.jewishcenterforwellbeing.com, where he offers programs and coaching that promote successful living through a discovery of one's own wisdom and wellbeing. Henry received his rabbinic degree from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He feels fortunate that his wife and seven children enjoy his company most of the time.
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